HOWARD (PIKE) SEAVEY
May 19, 2005
(Names and other words that could not be transcribed are in italics. Unknown voices are referred to as ďmanĒ or ďwoman.Ē Comments, explanations, and additional names are in parentheses.)
John Foley: Ok, this is John Foley and Iím at the home of Pike Seavey and Maxine Seavey on Cooper Road in Alexander and this is May 19, 2005 and Iím talking to Pike. Ok, so Pike, what I want to kind of start out with is just, could you tell us a little bit about your family background in this area - say.
Howard Seavey: Well, Iím one of sixteen children and Iím the next to the youngest one, the youngest boy, and we was - children was all born and brought up in Crawford and stayed there until such time as I went in the military service in 1948. Went to various places. Do you want the locations or something.
John Foley: Well, you might mention a couple, you know.
Howard Seavey: Well, I started out at - of course at Paris Island. I was in the Marine Corps so I went to Paris Island to boot camp. From there to Cherry Point, North Carolina, Washington, DC for a tour, from there to Korea and back from Korea to San Francisco, California, from there to southern California, Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, California. From there to Washington, DC. I missed one somewhere along the way. I went over to Morocco on one of those tours. No, that was the next tour. From there to Morocco. Back to Washington, DC again. From there to Japan, Japan to Hawaii and Korea - not Korea, no, Viet Nam. And, in the hospital for a few months there - after seven months or so and retired from the service.
John Foley: Well, that was quite an - quite an experience.
Howard Seavey: So - - -
John Foley: You must have had a lot of jobs in the - or was it pretty much one thing you were trained for?
Howard Seavey: Actually, after I got in the service, I was drafted into communications. Basically teletype communications when I started out. And, I stayed right in communications until the time when I retired.
John Foley: Ok.
Howard Seavey: So, I was with some special units - classified units. I was in communications working with the Navy almost exclusively for the last 13 years. I was with some Marine outfits but it was the same type of outfits that I worked for in the - with - working with the Navy. That was the Naval Security Group of which itís a classified in - unit so I wonít go into that. After I retired from the service I came back here - well, I guess I got ahead of myself. Before I retired when I went to Viet Nam, I moved the family back here to Woodland, which is where I lived - in Woodland. Thatís on the application. And, I went down there and I was only there for a few days - 46 days I believe for sure and I was sent from there back to the hospital over in Guam. And, I was there for three weeks and back to Philadelphia in the hospital for five, six months and then retired. After I retired, as I started to say, I - I came back - moved back to Woodland and worked various jobs just trying basically to find out what I wanted to do.
John Foley: Ok. Yes.
Howard Seavey: I knew I was retired and getting retirement but that wasnít enough to - to really bring a family up on, so - and of course I was really to young to retire anyway at that time so I tried different things. A little bit working in the woods. I worked in the woods for six years before I went in the service anyway. And I drove some equipment in - in the woods - trucks and so forth, loaders and that kind of stuff and then I got done with that. I didnít think that was my ball of yarn so they say, so I went in the mill, Georgia Pacific. I worked in there only three years and I couldnít at that time get what I wanted to do so I had an opportunity to take over a filling station - gas station there in Woodland so I - I left the mill and went to that. I worked there in the gas station there for about three years and I enjoyed that but I broke up with the first wife at that point and I was working too many hours to - to decide that I wanted to do that, so I gave that up.
John Foley: Ok.
Howard Seavey: And, then a few months later, I met and married my wife - present wife, Maxine, and I tried a few more things - jobs that I did and finally anyway I ended up going to work for the state on the highway out here. And, I would have worked for them 13 years and I was medically retired from that and so after that - well, since then we - in fact while I was there working for the state why we - we moved out here to Alexander shortly after I married my wife. And, Iíve owned this place since 1952 anyway. So we came out here and tore the old house down and built a house - built this house - this present one here and weíve lived out here ever since. Since I got out here, I got involved somewhat in town affairs. Basically I think the reason I went in it - there was a few things that I could see that I - I guess basically disagreed with and so I decided well to get to know what I was doing, I guess Iíll get a little bit involved in the town stuff, so I first, I guess, went on as the assessor here in the town. I - donít ask me how many years ago thatís been - quite a few - and I kind of enjoyed doing that. I - you know didnít know a lot about it and in fact still donít know a lot about it.
John Foley: Itís a tough job, too. You canít keep everybody happy with that job sometimes.
Howard Seavey: I never went to any school, you know. I mean thereís jobs here in the town, but Iíve been doing it and then eventually I went on the selectmen and Iíve been on that selectmen for basically, probably ten years or a little better, also. And, I enjoy that, too. Thereís a lot of - an awful lot of hours thatís put into this stuff and although, of course, we get paid for this - to a respect, I should say that we get paid for it. Now, working for the selectmen I get about - right now, Iím getting $250.00 a year. (Indistinct words - both men talking at the same time.)
John Foley: Thatís right. Itís not a great pay check, but itís just a - itís really your - your responsibility, I guess . (Indistinct words - both men talking at the same time.)
Howard Seavey: I -I kind of enjoy doing it. Someone has to do it, of course, for the town and I kind of enjoy doing it and basically, I guess, I get discouraged a little bit with it but at the same time, I hate to give it up, too. Four or five years ago, the wife and I decided we would start going to a warmer climate and we went to - out to Arizona for a visit with some friends and liked it out there and bought a place out there so we go there every winter.
John Foley: Oh, ok.
Howard Seavey: So, Iím gone from - well, generally from the first of December to the last part of March sometimes. That restricts me out of doing some of the things that I did do. Like I was - I used to be - for several years I was chairman of the selectmen and I gave that up basically for that reason - that I was gone in - in the winter. Iím still quite involved in that stuff now and still spend a lot of time on it. Iíve also done the roads here in the town for - the selectmen has a road commissioner of course, but Iíve done the - basically done the roads, with their permission, of course for what we was doing and I enjoy that type of work.
John Foley: Well, thereís a lot of improvements in the roads. In the years Iíve been here, Iíve noticed.
Howard Seavey: There is - there is definitely a difference in the road, but if - I set a plan up way back on trying to get the roads all back into shape. All the dirt roads hot topped and so forth. And that was going along beautifully. Apparently the town people wanted to do basically what I was - suggested doing. I laid it out to them every year when we go to town meeting - what our plans are pretty much and Iíve had no problem getting money from them until, oh about four years ago, I guess it was. We got in a crisis up there with the school where that they needed more money and so they cut of the input money that I was getting for the roads.
John Foley: Oh gee!
Howard Seavey: And that lasted - and then went right from that to the salt shed down there, so we put what money we had for the roads - town roads - in the - into the salt shed. That set us back without - obviously set us back on doing the roads and we still havenít got completely caught up, but weíre beginning to at this point. And, we got the salt shed put up and thatís a big improvement to the town - definitely a big improvement to the town. Itís going to cost the town less money and eventually that will - that will pay for itself anyhow. There was an awful lot of controversy about that salt shed.
John Foley: Well, I think any change in the town especially if it involves a little money here or there - is going back - but people kind of think the way it was - the older way is ok, but, I donít know, you have to make changes that make sense sometimes, you know.
Howard Seavey: Well, we was - we was - actually we was required by the state to put in the salt shed up at any point - at any rate. The biggest controversy of - of it was of where are you going to put it.
John Foley: Ok, yes.
Howard Seavey: Now, several of them wanted to put it over on the Airline Road over next to Zela Cousinsí there. What we called the Barnaby lot. And, to me that was way out of the area that it should be in.
John Foley: Itís sort of on the edge of the town instead of in the middle of it.
Howard Seavey: We had the opportunity to - of course, we had to buy down here from Jimmy Davis where the salt shed presently is and that is right close to the town office. It was in the central part of the town. We could - the ground was right so we could put the shed into the ground - or part of it and have a place to dump the gravel or sand right through the back - or part of it on the top. That was the obvious logical way, as far as I was concerned, to do it. As I said, there was several people that disagreed with all of this - then any extra money that you donít need (indistinct words) and as time goes on, why that will all pay for itself. Well, there was a big disagreement over it, but anyway, thatís the way it ended up. The town voted to do it and then thatís where the salt shed is. And, as far as Iím concerned, why thatís logically the place for it to be.
Jon Foley: Well, I think thatís, you know, one improvement, too. I always thought that having the trucks turning on Route 9 there at the old place, it wasnít so good, either. This - at least you pull off Route 9 to - and itís probably better in that sense.
Howard Seavey: And, definitely if weíd put it over the other way, right at the top of that hill, the state - the state, I think, would have given approval to put it there at that time. If we was doing it right now and asked them, why there definitely wouldnít be a chance that theyíd even approve it. And, itíd been a lot worse there than where we did have it down there - the old salt shed. And, of course the reason that we had to change the old salt shed - why the state required us to do it - we got salt in the - in the well across the road. Of course that - that was my brotherís - that was one of my brotherís places and as far as I was concerned and am still concerned, it makes any difference who it is. I - I just donít see - I just donít see business with a town thatís family or whatever - individuals - theyíre all the same. You do for one just the same as you for another. Thatís just the way I feel about it. Other peopleís different than that. But, that - that I canít help.
John Foley: Well, over the years, you know, since you were - grew up there in Crawford, what major changes have you noticed.
Howard Seavey: Well, like I - I - I guess I was talking about there earlier before you started that thing, when I was a kid, we were brought up there, and of course, there was no vehicles in town. That is, I say no vehicles - there was maybe half a dozen vehicles in town. I - I donít know how many but very few. We never had a vehicle at our house until - well, my brother Neil and I was grown up enough so we was working in the woods - which I was quite young. I was only 12 when I went to work in the woods and then went to high school.
John Foley: Probably with a horse and stuff, huh?
Howard Seavey: Oh yes, it was all horses and didnít - there was no chain saws or no - nothing like that.
John Foley: Buck saw and an ax? Is that what you had?
Howard Seavey: Cross cut.
John Foley: Cross cut, yes.
Howard Seavey: All that stuff. You know, it was like at home there in Crawford if a vehicle went by, why everyone looks out to see who it is.
John Foley: A big event, huh?
Howard Seavey: And what - you knew who they all was, too. And, then like it is today, why everyone has their food and the kids - it - it just didnít - it wasnít that way. If Mother wanted - wanted or needed to go to town to get groceries or something, Rupert Day was there in Crawford - drove the mail in the town and heíd take people in and youíd do your grocery shopping. She had to pay him a little bit, I think, as I recall, but Iím not sure if every time, but she - sheíd go with him into town most of the time to get your groceries.
John Foley: You didnít go too often either, probably.
Howard Seavey: No, no. Well, to start with, there was no money to - to get groceries with. Basically, you was living off of the land and - and the wild animals.
John Foley: Everybody had a big garden, I bet.
Howard Seavey: Oh yes, a great big garden. No comparison really on what it is today. I donít know what to say in changes - you know, thereís a - we knew - as I said, we knew everyone in town and all - at least Crawford and Wesley and Alexander, I knew everyone that was there - where they lived and so forth. The kids and all. If a child was born, why you picked up their name just the same as you did the grownups and well - itís a different ball game today.
John Foley: Oh, yes, full of strangers probably. Especially around the lakes. Well, there wasnít much - many camps on the lakes, probably. Was there?
Howard Seavey: No, no camps.
John Foley: No camps.
Howard Seavey: Crawford Lake, I was practically - when I was younger, -I - Father, he - he fished there off of Crawford Lake for - for a business, really.
John Foley: Oh, really. Yes?
Howard Seavey: Caught - weíd go fish for pickerel and had an ice house down on the lake. Put up our own ice of course in the winter - cut it right out of the lake and put it up, and youíd ship these pickerel - get a box full and ship them to Boston, Massachusetts.
John Foley: Is that right? Yes? Huh.
Howard Seavey: They - they went to, I guess, Machias and went on the train, I think, as I recall. And they were shipped to Massachusetts. Heíd get a little bit out of that - that kind of stuff, but really - he was a cripple anyway - had his - one of his ankles was sawed right out with a mowing machine - first mowing machine that ever went into the Town of Crawford.
John Foley: Oh my gosh!
Howard Seavey: Of course they didnít know nothing about it, and he was out in front of the cutter bar and it sawed his foot almost off.
John Foley: Oh my gosh!
Howard Seavey: It cut the whole - one whole ankle right out. All there was was just the heel, I guess, left. And of course, then there was no way to get him to town, so - - -
John Foley: No medical coverage and no medical - I donít know, no doctors right around, either. Gee, heís lucky he didnít - they stopped the bleeding and everything for then.
Howard Seavey: Well they - of course, every - everyone liked my mother - why she was - she was just like the town nurse. She never did any nursing or anything, but we had so many kids and every little thing that happened - why, of course after she grew up and was married there - every thing that happened to most of these families, why they always went to Mother to see what - what to do. Well anyway, when Father had that ankle cut out, of course they took him in to the doctor because they had I suppose to put tourniquets and stuff on to stop the bleeding and had to haul him in to Calais on horse and wagons.
John Foley: Oh, my gosh. (Indistinct words)
Howard Seavey: Anyway - - -
John Foley: So, he got along ok after that? I mean, he - - -
Howard Seavey: Oh, yes.
John Foley: - - - recovered enough that - - -
Howard Seavey: Oh, yes. He recovered so he could, you know - of course he couldnít - he didnít have that foot - had the food but that all healed right up but he didnít have the ankle to work the foot so he was - he was pretty limited on what he could do and -but, if you didnít work in the woods or something like that, why if you wasnít able to do that, there wasnít much to do here. He worked on the roads some and he was involved in the school quite a bit when he was younger. That was - that was before - long before I come along, but he was superintendent of schools over there in Crawford there for quite a few years and that stuff. I found that out - most of it from back records, but I - I knew as I was growing up the schools but that really didnít mean much to me at that point.
John Foley: Well, there was a little school house - was it the Arm Road, there where it comes out to Route 9 - was that where they had the school house?
Howard Seavey: Yes, well there was - there was - actually there was two or three school houses in all - in all these towns, I think. There was four here in this town.
John Foley: Oh, I know in Alexander there was.
Howard Seavey: But, when - at the time that I grew up, why there was only the one school which was just above our house right there on the Arm Road.
John Foley: Ok, so you lived on the Arm Road?
Howard Seavey: Right on the corner. Right on the corner of the Arm Road and the Airline. Of course thereís no house there now, but it was right there on that corner on the left if you was going up the Arm Road. In fact, we had a little garage, barn type thing and that was across the road. On the other side (indistinct word) both of them - the Arm Road, of course. It was right on that little knoll, anyway, Thatís what we had. But, itís completely different here now.
John Foley: Well, were they selling blueberries then? Did they use the blueberry fields even then?
Howard Seavey: Yes. There were some blueberry fields. Now, Father had blueberry fields which were just down below where we lived there, he owned. He owned a lot of land there and lost it all through - through taxes. He borrowed a little money - not through the taxes. He borrowed a little money and it was- he wasnít well. The older kids, even going to cut lumber to pay off that little bill. He eventually lost the place there. We owned - Father owned right down to the lake - also quite a - quite a little strip on the lake - probably, Iíd say half - three quarters of a mile right on the lake there. But, to tell you when I was - when I was growing up, I was on the lake all day with Father in a canoe. There was no boats- absolutely no boats, absolutely no camps. There was - on Crawford Lake, I think there was - well when I was a younger kid, I think there was only two camps on Crawford Lake. Bill Bushey had one - yes, and there was a family that lived down there - Woodruffs, that had - their home was right down there. Then there was a doctor that had a camp also on Crawford Lake, which is still there today. I canít even remember his name. I - I could remember but I canít think of it now.
John Foley: Well, now, what about the canoes? Did - did you buy the canoes from Grand Lake or did somebody around here make them, or - - -
Howard Seavey: No, these was - Fatherís canoe was always an Oldtown Canoe.
John Foley: Oldtown, ok
Howard Seavey: Canvas canoe.
John Foley: Seems like a long way to go to get a canoe, but, I donít know, they had a good business, I know that.
Howard Seavey: I donít know how they might ever have got them, but of course he had a canoe - he had one canoe that I can remember ever. He didnít replace it. When - when you - as I say, it was a canvas canoe and when you - she started getting bad - wearing - get too many holes in it, whatever, why they took and put new canvas on it.
John Foley: Canvas on it, yes. Put it on., yes. Ok.
Howard Seavey: They took the gunnels off just like - - -
John Foley: Stripped it down, replaced what you needed, yes.
Howard Seavey: It was pretty much like building a canoe.
John Foley: I guess it would be.
Howard Seavey: But, they did that all themselves. Of course, all - when I say they - when you - when people had to have some help then - you didnít go out and hire anyone, because you didnít have no money to hire anyone, but people got together and did a project together. Like getting your wood in the spring - we always had a crew that sawed - went around and sawed wood in the spring - sawed everyoneís. I was involved with that somewhat when I - when I got big enough and old enough to do that, but nowhere near as they had done that before my time. But, as I say, someone would have a wood machine and you would help - you sawed someoneís 10, 12, 15 cord of wood. Then you moved it right down to your next neighbor or whatever and did theirs. Did that every spring.
John Foley: And - and, like if you had a widow or somebody that didnít have anybody to help them out, the - the community probably did that for - for them - help them out with their wood supply.
Howard Seavey: Probably did. Thatís the way that everyone survived then - help the other one. And it was not only the wood, it was everything. It was anything. They went - they went - if someone wants to build a barn, it was always a community project.
John Foley: Fletcher Perkins told me they moved his barn from a mile back on the woods over - well, they called it Joe Lordís field - back up to his place with oxen in the old days. The community did that somehow.
Howard Seavey: Thatís - thatís the only way you got anything done then. Of course there wasnít much of anything but trucks - no equipment. I mean there was no tractors around here - or anything like that Everything was done with horses and stuff - horses and oxen.
John Foley: They must have had a lot of blacksmith shops, I guess, quite a few, anyway.
Howard Seavey: Yes, there was - different ones had blacksmiths. George Cushing, that used - used to live right on the knoll there above us, he had a blacksmith shop there. Of course, we was - when I was a kid, I was just like one of his kids. I was up there.
John Foley: That was probably an interesting place to go to, you know. You get to see him making stuff or fixing things, you know.
Howard Seavey: Yes, and later his daughter, Priscilla Andrews, would still - sheís still living in Woodland, now. She got married. I can remember when she got married and I remember when the kids was growing and all that stuff. He had a pair of horses - Brewer Andrews, he had a pair of horses and worked up there and stayed up there and took care of the old folks. Was there for several years, working and doing some potatoes and stuff like that. Just wasnít room enough to do what he wanted to do, so he got an opportunity to buy that farm up in Princeton there. It used to be Brewer Andrews farm up there. Well, he bought that and of course he moved up there. I helped him move up there when I was, I donít know, 14 or 15.
John Foley: I was going to say, that was a while back.
Howard Seavey: I was about 14 or 15 years old then - 60 years or so ago.
John Foley: That must have been quite a job to move up with no vehicles or what - horses and wagons?
Howard Seavey: Yes, there was - the time he moved up there, why there was a few trucks. He had - he had an old truck. In fact, I used to drive it some. I didnít have no license, but that didnít make no - - -
John Foley: That didnít matter around here.
Howard Seavey: No. After I - long before I got a license why I was hauling folks into Woodland and stuff like that, but I didnít have no license. You canít do that today.
John Foley: No. Gee! Well, I guess thereís so many laws. Itís the same with the game - games laws, you know. People used to hunt and kill as many animals as they wanted and then the laws changed.
Howard Seavey: And, me and one of my brothers - we used to poach quite a lot, but - you know, it was - it was poaching and it was against the law and all of that, but if you didnít go too awful bad on it, why you didnít get bothered much.
John Foley: Well, your family - I mean, people depended on the meat and there was one way of helping - helping the family out.
Howard Seavey: Well, that - they did that, but there was just - there was just - there was just so many deer around. This was back - by that time it was back in the second World War. Everybody had moved from here - every able person, man and woman alike, had moved - the biggest part of them, I should say - had moved in - up in the Portland area. (Indistinct words)
John Foley: Oh yes, to work in the ship yards. Yes, yes.
Howard Seavey: No - used to be an awful lot of out-of-staters come down here deer hunting. In hunting season, why there - there was a big business in that.
John Foley: Oh, sure. Sure.
Howard Seavey: But of course - - -
TAPE TURNED OVER - SOME CONVERSATION LOST
John Foley: - - - as you say, the out-of-staters hunting, that probably didnít go on during the war, either.
Howard Seavey: No, no. Not at all. None.
John Foley: That was income, too, for some of the people around - the guides.
Howard Seavey: (Indistinct words) A lot of them come and this kind of stuff- you know like when I was - I donít know, by the time I was 14, why I was- I was a guide here, doing that kind of stuff. A junior guide. You had to be a junior guide at that time, but I had a license to do this and worked with my brothers and brother-in-laws and we - we took care of these hunters. It was a hundred percent different than it is now.
John Foley: I would imagine.
Howard Seavey: But anyway, these - these deer in this period of time during the Second World War, no one was killing the deer. Except a few natives were still killing some, of course. I mean there was no hunters here. And, most of the natives, as I say, was gone so they wasnít hunting either. So, consequently what happened was, the - the deer was just a nuisance.
John Foley: Oh, sure. Theyíd have been all over the place.
Howard Seavey: Like we used - we used to take an old automobile when I was 14, 15, and 16 years old in the summertime and drive from Crawford down to the lower end of Crawford sometimes through the woods over to - to Wesley. There was a four - four or five mile stretch just before dark or in that neighborhood of time, or early in the morning, either - it was nothing to see 35 or 40 deer.
John Foley: Oh, my gosh! Holy cow! Gee!
Howard Seavey: And, actually if you went out and wanted to kill a deer - why - and this sounds very stretching it a little bit at this point, but it isnít. At that time if we wanted a deer, why we went out and actually picked out the size deer we wanted.
John Foley: Oh, you picked the one you wanted, huh?
Howard Seavey: If one was a little bit too far back so you had to drag it quite a bit, why you just left it and went down to the next victim. You know, you might not - every night you might not shoot the one just the size you wanted right out close to the road, but youíd - youíd get it within a night or two. And, you - as I say, you didnít even have to get down off the road two or three hundred yards or a couple hundred yards, whatever to drag it out because weíd just leave it there. There was that many and we knew it, so - thatís - thatís considerably different you see today. But, at that time there was - there was woods around. There was - there was habit for the deer, but today well, there ainít no place for them to go. There ainít no farming.
John Foley: Well, thereís - thereís - the farms - at least they would come and they could browse those fields, and of course, the woods - they hadnít been cut over like the big paper companies have done. They probably had plenty of place for them to hide.
Howard Seavey: Wood yards, I mean the deer yards and all are cut today. Thereís very few. Theyíre beginning to restrict them, I guess, some now, but I - I used to know where the - most all the deer yards were around here - enough of them anyway so you could go in there in the wintertime if - if you wanted to get a deer, why you knew right where to go and thereís 50, 75, 100 deer in there.
John Foley: Oh my gosh!
Howard Seavey: You could pick one out and leave the rest of them alone.
John Foley: Yes, sure. It didnít hurt the population, thatís for sure. Gee, there was so many, you couldnít - couldnít put a dent in them.
Howard Seavey: Of course I donít do any of that now. Donít even - I sit here and enjoy watching them, now - what I - what there is here.
John Foley: Thereís not that many of them around now. I hear hunters complaining all the time. They see them once in a while, but - - -
Howard Seavey: Actually, we see quite a few deer right here, but we donít see any horns.
John Foley: Yes, you get quite a good view from here.
Howard Seavey: If you stand up there, weíve got the other back fields back down in the back there.
John Foley: Gosh, pretty.
Howard Seavey: It works out quite good for seeing them. I sit here now and take pictures of them.
John Foley: Thatís what I do.
Howard Seavey: I watch them things when they come up here. The wife will get disgusted at me after a while. Sheíll say, ďYouíve seen them deer every day for months. Why sit and watch them?Ē I just enjoy it.
John Foley: Well, it - it is quite a nice spot, though. Theyíve got a couple of apple trees, I guess. Iíve got some apples, too. They seem to like those apple branches with the fruit when it comes.
Howard Seavey: Yes, weíve got apple trees all the way down through, here. Used to be a big orchard right down the field. Used to be a nice - I got rid of all the (indistinct word).
John Foley: Youíve still got a certain amount of grass to mow out there. You cut that field?
Howard Seavey: Yes. This - Iíve cleared this - this place was all grown up when we moved out here and I had to clear it all back out again. In fact, this field here, I put a bull dozer in and bull dozed it out. Itís kind of a mess. Itís not a good hay field, but I - but I do cut it every year just to keep it clear.
John Foley: Keep it open, yes.
Howard Seavey: Keep it open and all the big - big - this was a - of course they had cattle here when I was a kid. My brother-in-law - oldest sister - owned this place.
John Foley: So, what was the name of this place, then?
Howard Seavey: Bert Flood. The old Varnum place.
John Foley: Ok, the Varnum, yes, yes.
Howard Seavey: Bert Flood bought it from Varnums. And, of course, I bought it from him. My mother actually bought it and put it in my name while I was in the service in Ď52 and I - at that point, why I was going to stay in the service so I didnít think I was going to be interested in it (indistinct words) I had a little throw in account - not much - that I was sending home - a lot went from the military taking care of her while I was in the service. See, of course, they wouldnít spend no money - wouldnít spend a nickle if they didnít have to so she had an opportunity to buy this from her brother-in-law and she had brought in some money out of that account that I had been giving her a little (indistinct word) from. Anyway, she - I said if you want to buy this place, go ahead, so she put it in my name and then of course after we got married, we decided to come out and tear the old buildings down and burn them up and build the place. Thatís why weíre here.
John Foley: Wow, itís - it worked out pretty good. Youíve got one of the nicest spots around at least for the view. I kind of like it.
Howard Seavey: Itís - itís a nice spot.
John Foley: How big a piece of land is this?
Howard Seavey: We had 92 acres at one time when I bought it and Iíve - Iíve got 86 now in total. Letís see down there is four acres, I guess and a couple acres of it is down in the swamp down there. Itís on the divided part. Over (indistinct word), I sold a half an acre or so down here to Foster Carlow just to help him out just enough so he could put a septic system in. (Indistinct words) He was required to have it in order to do that. (Indistinct words) And, what weíre keeping it now for, donít ask me, but - - -
John Foley: Well, still itís nice to have. To me you have a little room, a little space around your own place without just somebody coming in right in your dooryard and putting a trailer up or something like that.
Howard Seavey: Yes, have a little - well, of course weíve got a camp over on Crawford Lake, too, to - you know, we could come back here and - - -
John Foley: Just use the camp.
Howard Seavey: - - - for the summer and go to Arizona in the winter, but we kind of hate to get rid of this (indistinct word) and probably never will. Probably talk about it a little bit, but not much.
John Foley: But, you decided to go back here of all your travels. You like this area better and, you know and itís a - - -
Howard Seavey: Yes, I see some other places that I think I would have been probably happy with but, you know, thereís a big family here, and my first wife, she Ė she come from California. She had very little family out there - didnít enjoy it out there, anyway, really - a little too built up. She liked it here so we settled on this. When we were - when we were first married, that was kind of interesting. We talked about that. She said ďWell, I want to be on the west coast.Ē ďWell, I want toĒ - when we were talking about retirement, of course, and I said ďWell, I want to be on the east coast. So, I guess the way to settle that, weíre going to have to measure the distance and thatís where weíll settle.Ē
John Foley: In the middle, yes.
Howard Seavey: Kind of a - just a laughing thing at the time, but after she got back here, she enjoyed it here, and so we moved back here. Of course, sheís dead now.
John Foley: Well, I - I appreciate you talking to me and I think you really have given me kind of an interesting interview here on what things were like in the past and a lot about what you did. I donít know - anything else that you think is important? I think probably the biggest change youíve noticed is the change in the population - the number of people, huh?
Howard Seavey: Yes, it is, and another thing - another thing that I didnít mention that probably I should and maybe youíll say that Iím putting a little plug in for it, and I am if you think that - the entertainment type of thing that you used to do. Of course, Saturday night was - was - everyone went to town - everyone that was - that had - this was not when I was a little kid because they didnít have no vehicles but Iím sure the town was still the same way. All the stores was out there - open Saturday night and thatís when people did their trading. If you could find a place in Calais to park on Saturday night, you either went early and I mean by early, three, four oíclock in the afternoon, or else you - you went way up in back on some of them back streets to find a place to park because everyone was in town. When you walked up - up and down Main Street in Calais, I mean the sidewalks was full on both sides of the road - mostly on one side, but they was full. Itís kind of interesting. But they - other nights of the week you could go out there and it was pretty similar to what it is now. It was just like a ghost town.
John Foley: Thatís interesting, yes.
Howard Seavey: The social - social - one of the biggest social gatherings that there was - was around at that time was the - the Grange. And, of course, the - the Grange is still running up here. In fact Iím a Master of the Grange here in Alexander, now - just for this year. And, thatís still going. We had a meeting last night. I think there was something like 16 people which was - which was actually a good crowd for us, but back then weíve got records where there was over 200 people up there at meetings, and they had - of course they went - mostly everyone had to go on horse and wagon, and they had an old hobble down back of the present grange up here at that time so that people put their horses in and even occasionally some of them stayed overnight.
John Foley: Really. Oh my gosh. Gee. There was a lot of business to talk about, too, and events and things, there.
Howard Seavey: Of course, weíre still fighting to keep the Grange open. Weíd hate to see it go. My father was a charter member in this Grange up here. Of course he lived in Crawford so that will give you an idea of what these people did.
John Foley: You mean the Grange here, people came from other towns to it?
Howard Seavey: Oh, yes.
John Foley: Ok, yes. Yes
Howard Seavey: There was no - there wasnít any Grange in Crawford, of course. There was one in Wesley. In fact thatís where I first joined the Grange - in Wesley, because I - when I was - at that age, why I was running around with a group of people - kids from Wesley at the time so thatís where I joined the Grange. And, then after the wife and I moved out here and built this place, why of course we joined the Grange right away up here. So, Iíve been up here ever since. But, the Grange is hurting bad right now - for people and trying to - well, you just look at the building. Why we - we did some projects with the few people we have - thereís a few people that does everything, of course, the same as anything else. But, we have got it fixed up and done some stuff to it, but thereís still some more to be - that should be done and basically the outside now, is what - where we should be working on. Itís needs some nailing up and painting and so forth. We have got new windows and everything put throughout the Grange and we put a furnace in it and we had a well drilled - got a flush and running water in it. We donít have hot water in there, but we do have running water and a flush and that. Most of that stuff, Iíve done, but - Iíve done most of it. Put it that way.
John Foley: Well, I remember those Christmas pro - things they used to have when my kids were little in the Grange Hall. It was kind of warm upstairs there with the stove going and the crowd there. It was quite - it was packed. I mean, you know, that was 20 something years ago, I guess when it first started.
Woman: It was our town hall, and the school gym.
John Foley: Yes, thatís right. You had a meeting, that was where - where you had it. That was the center, the nucleus, I guess, or whatever, of the town.
Howard Seavey: All the town meetings was done in the Grange. My wife, Maxine, here got the - out of the schools- why - when they - you know now they have an eighth grade graduation and stuff up at the school. She was the one that started that, and it - this was all done (indistinct words) But you could go up there and - and you couldnít find a seat.
John Foley: Yes. I know. It used to be packed. Yes.
Howard Seavey: That was quite interesting.
John Foley: I was kind of worried because I thought, gee, thereís so many people. If there was a fire or something and had to get out of there, that would have been a problem.
Woman: And, that was when we had the old wood stoves for heat before we got the furnace in.
Howard Seavey: Had no running water, no nothing at that time. We used - used to put on a lot of suppers and stuff like that (indistinct words). We - we still today have these - we got started doing hunt - huntersí - - -
John Foley: Huntersí lunch, yes. I came to that. Yes, this - this year.
Howard Seavey: Same - same people come to every - every month - every week that - and the same few people - very few people thatís doing the work putting it on.
John Foley: Yes, yes. Well, I know part of it is - is that a lot of people have two jobs and stuff like that, but they - they also - they - they have other distractions. You talk about entertainment, in the old days, I think that was - that was - that was the place you went to, you know, to get any news or talk to people and see people.
Howard Seavey: That was - and, of course they - they had a -a few little stores in here - like old Charlie Brown had the store right next door up here to me. Youíd go up there - some of the men would go up there and sit around and shoot the breeze a little bit. Of course the ladies didnít do that much. Itís - as I say the Grange was the - was the social thing around the town. Always a big fight for - there was enough of them so there was a big fight for who got into what for officers and so forth.
John Foley: I can imagine.
Howard Seavey: Well, today the big fight is - is trying to find enough to fill the chairs.
John Foley: Oh yes, to get the people in there. Yes. Yes.
Howard Seavey: In fact thatís why Iím the master this year. The fellow that was in there had been there for - Brad Hunnewell, heíd been in there for seven, eight years as master. I didnít want to do it. Iím a -was a past master from when I was in it before, but I didnít want to. I was - I was happy to see someone else do that and Iíd do other things. I did most of the work up there, but that was because - one of the reasons is because I was right here and I was able to do it. I was retired and what have you.
John Foley: Yes, Well, I noticed that. The day you retire, they think you can do anything. Itís - itís true, you have a little time, but on the other hand sometimes people take a little advantage of you, you know.
Howard Seavey: Thatís true. But - but nevertheless, I didnít - I didnít mind it and still donít basically, but it gets old sometimes, but, you know, I still donít mind it. Every time I turn around the telephone is ringing and run up to the office and check this or do that. Itís like heading up the assessors or something. I still donít mind. I kind of - I - I actually kind of enjoy it. It keeps me going. Iím not one - Iím not going to sit down here at the house not very - not very many days anyway. I might go in and sit down in the big chair for - have a nap or something, but when I get up I want to be doing something.
John Foley: Well, I think in the old days people were so active. I mean it was just one thing led to another. If it was the chores or the work they had to do to make the family run and everything - they had - they had to do that and people got used to that kind of activity.
Howard Seavey: And, Iím involved with different things and other - like the Masonic. I belong to the Masonic organization in Calais and all - all of the organizations right up through the fifth - thirty - thirty fifth degree. I - Iíve stayed involved with them. A meeting of some kind about every night.
John Foley: I would say. Gee, you must have things going on.
Howard Seavey: And - about every night except Friday night and sometimes we have them too, but - meetings, but - the Masonic organization runs Bingo out to Woodland, now.l
John Foley: Oh, they do. Oh. Ok.
Howard Seavey: One of the Bingos. Thereís two out there. The American Legion runs one, also. We have - we have Bingo - in fact, thatís why I was watching my watch. I got to go out there. Not this early - I have to be out there at four oíclock to get set up for Bingo at six. And, I help them. I donít miss any of those. I go out there every Thursday night. Somewhere we have Grange every Wednesday night. Either we go up here - we go up here every other Wednesday or twice a month, I should say. Some - sometimes thereís a Wednesday we donít go - if thereís three Wednesdays in a month. We have the first and third Wednesday meetings up here and Cathance down to Cooper have it the second and fourth. They donít have any more members than we do so we kind of - some of them - the wife and I generally always get down there on Wednesday night when their meeting is and some of them generally comes up (indistinct words)
John Foley: Ok. So, there is a kind of exchange between the two towns.
Howard Seavey: When we do our installation of officers and that stuff, we have to have someone come in to do the installation so we get two, three, four granges together and generally, itís either Cathance down to Cooper or else up to our Grange. We have a little bigger Grange so we - we have them up here. We try to alternate pretty much with Cooper to do this. You know, itís helping each other out trying - trying to stay going (indistinct words). And it works out pretty good.
John Foley: You donít have any younger people coming in, though. Thatís seems to be the - - -
Howard Seavey: Not many. We - we have by far more younger people attached to us up here than probably any of the Granges in the area - in this area. I know that, but - but most of this is due to family - oh, like Amanda (indistinct words) When they moved up here, why her daughter joined and when her husband retired from the Navy, why he joined. Amanda, she joined, and Iím sure that their boy (indistinct words) going to school up here - just as soon as heís old enough, heíll probably join and in our family here that - this is how to keep this thing going. Our daughters stay here with us (indistinct word) Thatís the way it works.
John Foley: Well, I appreciate your giving me your time here and exchanging a little information and I think this is - you know, itís kind like a town - community project and itís - when they make the little display up there at the school in October, they plan to have pictures and some little bit of a write-up for each person will be up there, and - and people will be able to come and kids especially, and see that. I guess I can shut this off now.
END OF TAPE